Suspect 'Felt ... a Bump and Continued Driving': Detective

Samuel Metu is accused of killing a 4-year-old boy

By Lindsay Hood and Michelle Wayland
|  Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 3:16 PM PDT
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Suspect 'Felt ... a Bump and Continued Driving': Detective

NBCSanDiego

The preliminary trial for 19-year-old Samuel Metu, who allegedly killed a 4-year-old boy after he struck him with his car, began on Tuesday.

Metu allegedly hit Jameson Darapeth on July 10 as he traveled down Madrone Avenue in Skyline.

Darapeth and his older brother were looking for their family dog. On that fateful day, the 12-year-old said, he told his brother to stay where he was as he crossed the road. Moments later he said he heard a thump; when he turned around, his younger brother was lying in the middle of the street.

During court on Tuesday, detectives testified about the day of the accident

"He told me that as he was driving by, he saw the little boy and made sure the little boy wasn't entering the street with the dog and then he felt and heard a bump and continued driving eastbound," testified San Diego Police detective Ronald W. Lemaster.

The detective said Metu and his mother were traveling in separate cars to go to the gas station near their home, to get ready for an event they planned to attend later that day.

At the scene, police said Metu told them he thought he had hit a speed bump. At first, police did not take Metu into custody, but he was later arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, because, investigators said witness statements, as well as statements from his mother, conflicted.

Jameson's mother says she’s staying strong.

"He was smart, friendly, a playful boy. He was so talkative. I’m hanging in there. I still have three kids to take care of, so I have to stay strong," said Maria Delgado.

Neighbors say Madrone Avenue is a street where the kids are always playing outside, so they make sure to drive slowly.

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